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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

264        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

general course of education was surprisingly small. Here and
there, as in the old public schools of England, attended by lads
of the same social class as those who went to the academies,
games and sports came to be recognized as a valuable part of
school life ; but the modernization of studies, which was one of
the best features of the system, had remarkably little effect on
the practice of the ordinary schools.

One reason (among others) for the slight influence of the
courtly education is no doubt to be found in the fact that its
ideals and methods found no adequate literary expression. The
only considerable writers who can be regarded as representing
in any way this phase of education were scholars who were
engaged in individual tuition; and with the partial exception of
Locke (whom we shall discuss later), their views are too much
their own to allow them to be considered typical exponents.
This applies very specially to Fenelon, the most outstanding
French educator who wrote from this point of view.

Francois de Salignac de la Mothe Fenelon (1651-1715)
belonged to a noble French family which had given many of
its members to the service of Church and State. From the
beginning of his career as a priest he distinguished himself by
his zeal. In consequence of this he was appointed director of
a sisterhood of New Catholics, which had been established in
Paris for the purpose of winning over Huguenot girls to Catholic-
ism. His success in dealing with the girl converts brought a
request from his patroness the Duchess of Beauvilliers for advice
with regard to the education of her eight daughters : in response
to which he wrote (at the age of thirty) a small treatise On the
Education of Girls. The publication of this work, some years
later, led to him being entrusted by Louis XIV with the education
of his grandson and eventual heir, the Duke of Burgundy. The
royal pupil was a bad-tempered boy who went into a rage on the
slightest opposition to his wishes, but under the tactful manage-
ment of Fenelon, who foresaw the possibility of reforming the
kingdom of France through him, he underwent a complete
change of character. He became pleasant, affable, humble,
austere, almost a religious bigot, with no interest in the life of the
Court. The method pursued in his education was that indicated
in the treatise On the Education of Girls, which received further
illustration in the three well-known books written specially for